Americans tap into the case for craft beer

January 27, 2015

American tastes really do seem to be changing. Yesterday’s Data Dive made the case that U.S. palates are evolving from traditional fast food restaurants like McDonald’s to “fast casual” franchises like Chipotle and Starbucks. A similar case can be made for the country’s increasingly refined taste in sudsy booze.

As this Reuters graphic shows, according to Nielsen data,  domestic premium and economy brands lost market share in units sold between Dec., 2010, and Dec., 2014, though they still account for better than two-thirds of the $100 billion annual beer market. Meanwhile, craft beer sales grew 75 percent, to 6.3 percent of total market share, good for $14.3 billion in annual sales, while imports, ciders and premium-owned “craft” beers like Goose Island and Blue Moon also enjoyed healthy increases.

Earlier this month published some pretty amazing facts in their 2014 craft beer wrap up:

  • In 2014, the United States passed the mark of 3,200 brewers and the number of brewery licenses topped 4,500.
  • Breweries are opening at a rate of 1.5 per day, with more than 2,000 breweries in planning.
  • Thirteen states now have more than 100 breweries each, and 75 percent of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery.

Brewers Association chief economist (best geeky job ever?) Bart Watson sees craft beer as key to the industry’s growth, while a report from Nielsen last year noted the ubiquity of the migration:

All generations are increasingly trading up to above premium—including craft—beers from below premium and premium beers. The millennial shift toward craft beer is the most notable, with craft making up more than 15 percent of the group’s total off-premise beer spending. Generation X and Boomers are also shifting dollars (though less significantly) toward craft beer, which makes up a little less than 10 percent of older generations’ beer spend.

The evidence in the craft beer trend suggests that Americans are more likely to kick a keg than kick the habit.


One comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

California is leading the way in producing top notch micro brews. Lagunitas, bear republic, and one of the pioneers; Sierra Nevada are just a few co. that have grown substantially in the recent years. Mexican beers have obviously made a big impact on sale increases in imports as well.

Posted by sigvilla | Report as abusive